Saturday, March 18, 2023

At Least it’s Green Inside!

Although we’ve had a few days of promising spring weather (sunshine!), the forecast for next week is calling for more rain and snow.  Out in the garden, nothing is budding yet and there’s no sign whatsoever of my earliest crop,  rhubarb. The only green I’m seeing is inside my sewing studio as I work to beat back the green, green growth of scraps in my stash! Green is the March color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC).

My first green project of the week was to sew up 9 Split Nines blocks.

I had three more blocks left over from stitching them in RSC2021 that were residing in the block orphanage. After introducing them to their new friends, there were an even dozen. Hopefully they will all find homes in one of at least two quilts I plan to make with this year’s blocks.

Then it was time to start on my green string blocks. Originally I had planned to sew 56 blocks, at 6” finished size, to make a quilt 42x48”. But then I remembered a chunk of fabric I had been given with whimsical multi-colored horses on a green background. There was enough of that to cut out 10 blocks, so I only needed to sew 46 string blocks. Here’s a close-up od that fabric.

And here are the quilt blocks all posing together on the design board.

The top will be sewn together in the next week, and can hopefully be pin basted and quilted too. I did baste a couple more community quilt tops during the week, as well as the Rainbow Bear Paws quilt. Then I went ahead and got that one bound for my only finish of the week.

Yes, many half-square triangles were harmed in the making of this quilt. But I’m not even apologetic about it. It’s a Quilt for Kids quilt, and as far as I know, the Quilt Police don’t recruit kids! I quilted it with a basic stipple, and inserted a blue stripe down the middle of the backing to make it fit.

Rainbow Bear Paws finished at 40x50”.

Today, my friend Ruby and I are attending the World Wide Quilting Day at the Sandy (UT) Senior Citizens Center. I’ve never been to a senior center before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. And truth be told, at 69, I guess I am a senior. But I do prefer to hang around with young people, or at least the young at heart. Given that we are having a pot luck luncheon, a Jelly Roll Race quilt session and a Give-and-Take fabric table, these ladies (and maybe gentlemen?) sound like they may be a fun group after all!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Just Goofing Around

It seems I’ve been pretty busy doing all sorts of things lately, except sewing. Well, I have been doing some sewing, so that’s not entirely accurate. But there were two or three days where I never even made it downstairs into the studio. 

Last Saturday, I added small white borders to the Bright Blocks quilt. I’ll show that momentarily. I also cut out pieces for some of my green March blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. On Sunday when my friend Ruby and Cousin Kim were here to sew, I got those mostly sewn up. Let’s take a look.

Eleven Little Bricks blocks. This is such a delightful and easy block that several of us are doing this year. The block is courtesy of Sylvia at Treadlestitches.

I started making these Little Bricks mid-year last year, so these will be added to that pile which already includes some green blocks. The more, the merrier!

On Monday, I finished these Four in Nine blocks while I waited for our housekeeper to show up. She kept pushing our time back, and finally ended up rescheduling for Wednesday afternoon. But I did get the laundry and these blocks done while I waited.

The first two have gray as the dark constant.

The next four have navy as the dark constant.

Tuesday was my weekly Weight Watchers workshop (lost another pound and a half). And then I put together these six Chaser blocks, a block from Cynthia Brunz of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.  I’m using black prints on these to supplement the color of the month. Must whittle down the black scraps!

These went together very quickly, so I also sandwiched up the Bright Blocks quilt top and got it ready for quilting.  I usually layer up three or four quilt tops at once, but I was feeling restless and unfocused. So I went upstairs and spent the afternoon shopping online and ordering some long-sleeve sweaters, short-sleeve summer tops, a nightgown, a sundress, two pairs of shoes and a belt. Back in January I had ordered two sundresses and two summer tops, and they all fit and were keepers. So I was emboldened to try it again. The only thing that arrived this week (so quick!) was a pair of white sneakers for summer. They fit like a glove and are so dang comfortable. 

Wednesday morning we had our semi-annual dentist visit and cleaning. No cavities or other issues - YAY! Our housekeeper had to cancel again, so we did our monthly Costco run in the afternoon.

On Thursday I quilted and bound the  Bright Blocks top, and Thursday night we went out to dinner with son Ryan, DIL Kim, DGD Lauren and her boyfriend Graham. We always celebrate Ryan’ s birthday and mine together since they’re only five days apart. 

Here is Bright Blocks, which finished at 40x50” and will go to Quilts for Kids.

So you may remember my dilemma with that basket in the top center block. It was a white fabric with tiny colored polka dots, and I asked you guys if I would replace that fabric or ???  Wanda was the first to reply with the idea of adding to the basket with a colored marker to visually beef it up, and several of you echoed the idea. So that’s what I did, and I’m so pleased with the result.

I just added more polka dots with a fine-tipped orange permanent marker. Et voila!

Here’s the backing, which is so perfect color-wise that I’m still pinching myself. 

And that’s it for the sewing this week. Yesterday morning we did the grocery shopping, then in the afternoon we went to the Home and Garden Show at the South Towne Expo Center. It was more home-related stuff and less about garden stuff, but we did get some literature and referrals for some possible outdoor projects (cement resurfacing and xeriscaping) for this year.  

While there, we ran into the son (and grandson) of one of Bruce’s best friends who played with him for 50 years in their folk trio, The Muddy Gutter Boys. Lane (on the right) snapped a picture of us all. It was so good to see them!

Yes, my hair was up and it looked like hell. But in my defense, we had strong winds all day, gusting up to 40mph, and we had to walk into the wind from the parking lot to the expo center. Whew! We walked the entire show - great exercise - and then it was back out into the wind. 

And that was my week. It started raining last night and is supposed to continue all weekend. So, if you need me, I’ll be down in the studio quilting.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

It’s a Jungle Out There!

 This week’s post is going to be short and sweet and lean on pictures. I just had so much going on, so much on my mind and (insert any random excuse here) that I don’t have too much to share. But watch out next week…

I did manage to sew backings for 5 quilt tops. All of these are Community Quilts sent to me by others to layer, quilt and bind. But in order to do that, I had to sew strips and chunks together for the backs. That was how I spent my Thursday (instead of pin basting them). 

It’s my goal to have these layered and at least 3-4 of them quilted and finished by next weekend. 

I did finish my Creature From the Pink Circus quilt. 

This was so much fun to put together. It used 8 orphan blocks, and lots of pink scraps made into Chaser blocks, a checkerboard strip, a width-of-quilt crumb strip and lots of strips and chunks. It’s happy and … and… I forgot to take its measurements or sew on a Quilts for Kids label. But I can do those today. My brain seemed to be focusing on other things this week…

I’ve been sticking to my Weight Watchers food plan and the pounds are coming off. I blew past the 40-lb lost mark (down 42). I had to go out shopping and buy some new jeans and a couple other necessities. Last week I used (ate) my daily points allotment, but very few of my weekly points, which allow us to cover more calorie-laden meals or occasional splurges. But I’m feeling I need to use more of those weeklies (in other words, eat a bit more) as I get hungry at times. Eating more to lose weight… what a concept! Anyway, I have another 21 pounds to go to reach goal, which I hope to reach sometime this summer. And then go another 10 pounds or so under that as a cushion. Even that will have me 20 pounds over what my original WW goal was when I was 21. But 40 years and three children (and my doctor) says that’s just fine!

The color of the month for March in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is green. I’ll be mixing all my greens - light, dark and bright - together for my blocks this month. 

First up was framing 10 more of these jungle blocks. Hence, the “jungle” referred to in the blog post title. I have 20 finished now, but I still want to add frames in red, orange and yellow. When all is said and done, I’ll have 50 blocks to make into two quilts.

In March I’ll also be assembling this quilt of Bear Paw blocks, which were one of my blocks from last year’s Rainbow Scrap challenge. This is the layout up on the design wall.

The pink strips are just pinned up there to demarcate the sections for assembly. I’ve barely started with the left column, top 4 blocks.  

It’s still snowy and cold here. I just had my annual mammogram (all is well). In the coming week we have our semi-annual dentist visit and cleaning, and the following week is my annual physical. The fun just never stops around here….

Saturday, February 25, 2023


I would call it the Week From Hell, but it would more accurately be described as the week from the North Pole. Frankly, though, some of hell’s warmth would be welcomed about now! LOL.  

Beginning Tuesday afternoon and continuing through all of Wednesday, the Salt Lake Valley was plastered with at least 18” of snow on the valley floor.  The schools reverted to online classes and many businesses were closed. Those people who live on the benches (foothills) of the mountains that surround the valley got even greater accumulations, and the mountain communities were inundated. I think we’ll have no major water issues this year, but snow loads on roofs and trees and plants has been concerning. I’ve been out to brush off my rose bushes a couple times. I didn’t take pictures because I’m a dunce at those things. 

The frigid, moist air seems to have finally permeated the basement where my studio is, and I can’t seem to get warm. Perhaps, however,  it’s the loss of 40 pounds of insulating weight? I’ve been wearing three pair of socks at a time, plus two to three layers of tops / sweaters. 

Some days I just couldn’t bear to sew, even with the supplemental studio space heater going, so my production, like my weight, is down. But I do have a few things to show you.

I finished 10 pink crumb candy blocks. I will put these in with the other colors of crumb candy blocks, because everyone likes pink candy or bubblegum, right? The rest of my crumbs went into making a row of crumbs 4” tall by 40” wide, which I added to the top of The Creature From the Pink Circus quilt top. That little quilt top is sandwiched up and waiting to be quilted in the next week. 

My primary focus was layering and then quilting two more lovely Community Quilt tops that were sent to me by my friend McGill in SC. Her kids quilts are always such beautiful eye candy and a joy to quilt.

As I quilted this cheerful 40x50” quilt using loops and hearts, I had fun checking out all her various scraps. There were so many that I have also had over the years, so it was like sharing a walk down memory lane! Thanks, McGill!

Isn’t the backing pretty? 

This second quilt from McGill is my favorite. I am so in love with the saturated colors and lovely Tula Pink fabrics. It measures 43x45”. 

This was quilted with a basic stipple; light gray on the front and a medium gray on the back. The binding was a fun piece of Allison Glass SunPrint fabric I had in my stash. I love how the colors and intensity match the front and pop on the back. 

On Friday I had my annual mammogram in the morning. I’m glad that’s over for another year. At noon I took my son Ryan to an eye surgery re-check appointment. He had a lasik-type procedure done the day prior and wasn’t cleared to drive until the re-check. We then went out to lunch and just had a great few hours talking and hanging out. 

The only other thing I managed to accomplish this week was to work on fixing up these donation blocks. They were given to me from our Quilts for Kids chapter to “do something with”. On three of them I had to replace stained white background pieces. Two blocks needed to be torn apart and the piecing corrected. The last problem block is the basket block at the center top. The basket is portion is barely visible due to poor contrast. 

I had a scrap of yellow print to replace it, but the fabrics and quilt tops in The Cubbyholes of Shame were hissing and booing (the hooligans!), wanting me to be done with the dang thing already. So the blocks are in Time Out until I make my decision. I’d love to hear what you think…. Replace the basket or not?

Have a good week!
Linking up to Scrappy Saturday at Angela’s So Scrappy blog. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

More Quilt Finishes and the Rest of the Fabric Tour

Usually when Blogger goes berserk on me, it at least lets me know that there are unsaved changes to a post. But last week? No...... So the last part of my studio fabric storage “tour” flew off into the ether, never to be seen again. (Like a Chinese spy balloon?)  

So let’s quickly dispatch with that and then move on to this week’s Rainbow Scrap (pink!) progress and the quilt finishes for the week.

These are the bottom two shelves of the leftmost (of three) bookshelves. The upper shelf holds two WIP quilts (another Zip quilt to be sewn - FOR ME THIS TIME! LOL) and the Red Ribbons quilt that needs to be finished. The rest are fabric pulls for three more personal quilts and several pillowcases, also personal.

The bottom shelf is my autumn and Halloween fabric for a quilt or two I never even got started last year. I think there’s also some Independence Day fabric there. And on the floor is my plastic tote of Framed Four Patch blocks from RSC 2022. There is a line through the label meaning it’s ready to be assembled.

This is what we’ll dissect next (the right two bookshelves):

Left Bookshelf (top down): 
Purple scrap tote on purple yardage, Kaffe Fassett fabrics
Aqua scrap tote on aqua/teal fabrics; Yellow scrap tote on yellow/gold fabrics
Solid scraps and yardage
The remainder of that are the Cubbies of Shame. I’ll come back to those in a moment.

Right Bookshelf (top down):
Red scrap tote and red yardage
Black/Gray/Brown yardage; Light Blue scrap tote on light blue yardage
Pink scrap tote on pink yardage; Orange scrap tote on orange yardage
Dark blue yardage and scraps
All the Greens - scraps and yardage
Bottom shelf; Christmas fabrics and scraps; shirtings
On floor in front: another group of quilt tops sent from Jo Kramer in IA (Jo’s Country Junction) as I’m one 
     of her quilt finishers. These will be added to the Cubbies of Shame

Cubbies of Shame:

Kids and Novelty yardage, paired and unpaired with like colors/themes.
Quilt tops to have a backing made, then to be layered, quilted and bound.
In baggies and plastic tote: groupings of like-themed or like-colored scraps - quilt “kits” that I pull out to sew on, a few at a time each month. 

Yes, I’ve got a backlog here to last me well into next year and beyond. Or maybe into next decade, LOL. Therefore, with a grateful heart and humble apologies, I have to ask my generous friends and donors to hold off sending things for awhile. Now, if you’re OK with sending larger fabric pieces that can be used as backings and/or passed directly on to Quilts for Kids, that would be awesome. I just cannot sew them all, and I’m not sure if that was ever expected or not. But everything intended for Quilts for Kids goes to Quilts for Kids, whether it’s in the form of a quilt or fabric to be made into quilts by one of our hard workers.  

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Now, let’s get to the fun stuff - pink, girly February in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

First, I made 12 Split Nine blocks.

And then I started working on little crumb blocks, but I’ll save those for next week. Instead, I’ll show you the three quilts I was able to quilt, bind and label this week. Just in time for our monthly QFK workshop tomorrow!

Pink Checkerboard blocks (donated by Catherine in NJ) supplemented with some 4-patch blocks and one pink orphan block from my stash. Finished size: 40x50”. The backing was the last of an old sheet, the first half of which backed a pink quilt from last year!

This next one has a bit of a history to share. The two circus border strips (a J. Wecker Frisch fabric) were a gift to me from Nann; they actually came from her friend Dorothy (how appropriate! The lion in the panel reminds me of The Cowardly Lion. But I digress....).  The wild pink and red diamonds, which really should be turned the other way in a perfect world, seemed to scream Circus to me. So this Tula Pink fabric (from her Tabby Road collection) was included, along with some dark pink and white stripe fabric. Four quick seams, and two side strips later, and an outrageous circus quilt was born. 

The backing used the last chunks of these Kaffe and Kaffe Collective fabrics. I would’ve felt bad doing that, but with the solid designers of the front fabric to keep the Kaffes company, I figured the Quilt Police would turn a blind eye. 

This little quilt, which took next to no time, finished at 39.5 x 44.5”.

And here come the elephants! This penultimate elephant quilt is finished! The last one will be done in March, but for now, isn’t this just the cutest quilt ever? 

Happy Elephants finished at 39.5 x 44.5”.  I sure wish I had lots more of that border fabric!! 

So, what do you do when you have really enjoyed your week sewing pink circus quilts and elephant quilts? You make one more to keep the fun going!  Here is my pink “Creature” quilt in progress. It named itself  The Creature From the Pink Circus.

At this point, only the central portion between the hot pink starred width-of-fabric strips is sewn. I started with a vintage elephant appliqué (also from Dorothy’s stash, courtesy of Nann) and machine appliquéd it down to a cute trimmed fat quarter - designed by Tamara Kate, one of my all-time fave designers and purchased from her Spoonflower shop. I added a polka-dot balloon appliqué too. 

The rest is just cobbled together, medallion-style, with leftover blocks of strings, waffles, Twin Sisters, Bullseye Courthouse Steps, and Chaser blocks. I think I’ll probably replace that ugly top strip with some 6” scrap blocks. That’s on the agenda for the coming week. Also coming are two adorable quilts from my friend McGill in South Carolina. One of hers is already basted, and the other has the backing made and will be basted, along with the Creature from the Pink Circus this week. I can’t wait!

Have a great week, friends!

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Three Finishes and Studio Tour

This week, three little quilts “got their wings” (were officially finished) - and none of them are pink. Two are little blue quilts from January and one is an RSC finish of blocks from last year. I will be getting to some pink quilt tops and some Community Quilts once I spend this afternoon pin/spray basting them. I’m hoping to get five finished next week, but if I could only get three done this week (did I really just say “only” out loud?) then I’m not going to hold my breath for five finishes next week. Whatever happens, happens. 

Let’s see which little quilts got their wings. 

First up is this cute little Bow Ties quilt. These were some blocks I did for last year’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge. 

It measures 42x48} and was quilted with a simple stipple. The backing is a piece sent to me by Jo Kramer for her Community Quilts donation quilt program,.

As usual, this one will to to Quilts for Kids.

Next up are the two blue quilts pieced in January. This first one, pieced with dark and bright blue strings, reminds me of frosted winter window panes. So I’m calling it Frosted Window Panes.

It finished at 42x48”, was quilted with loops, and used up most of the rest of this blue print for the backing. The remaining bits will be cut up for Zipper blocks. 

The final finished quilt this week was this Creature From The Blue Lagoon quilt, using leftover blocks, chunks and all manner of scraps. The finished quilt is 44.5 x 60.5”. I forgot to take a backing photo. 

Working with my pink strings, I finished sewing 63 string blocks at 6.5”, unfinished size. I safety-pinned them into four groups of 15 blocks for the QFK quilt kit makers. 

The remaining three blocks will hopefully be incorporated into my pink Creature quilt later this month. I’m open for ideas for a pink Creature quilt name (hint, hint). Last time I did a pink Creature quilt, it was The Creature From the Bubblegum Factory, LOL. 

This next photo is a bad one, but it shows that this next elephant quilt is ready for basting. I promise that despite how wonky it looks on the design board, half hanging and half pinned, that it is squared up. I’ve also assembled a backing from scrap chunks, so this will be a finish next week hopefully!!

What follows is a mini-tour of my studio. I’ve had three separate requests (from Linda, Kat and Anonymous) to show how I store my fabrics and scraps. First up, here is a photo taken of my one studio wall after the flood and remodel from about 18 months ago. It will give you a “lay of the land”, so to speak. 

Although things have changed since this photo was snapped, it is the window wall that I’ll be talking about and showing pictures of. I’ll start on the left with the two plastic storage drawers, then move to the right and eight cubbies on which the ironing station rests, then finish with the three IKEA bookshelves. Ready?

Scrap storage for (top down): Kona White, White/black and black white scraps, Kona Snow, Zip Block contrast squares), Low Volume, Brown, Black. On top of this unit rests my bolts (yardage) of Kona White, Kona Snow, Kona Black and Kona Red. 

Next up: 

Fused scraps (appliqué leftovers), Zip Block ingredients, gray scraps, Linens and scraps pulled to work with them (someday I’ll get back to these, and the drawer that houses the Orphan blocks and Parts Department. 

Moving to the right under the ironing station are:

Top Two: lighter (L) and darker (R) backing pieces for Quilts for Kids.
Bottom Left: precuts. 
Bottom Right (in polka dot bin) Low Volume print yardage and pieces greater than a fat quarter.

Moving to the right, here are the other four bins

Top Left: paper, phone books and lightweight backings for string blocks
Top Right (polka dot bin) African fabrics
Bottom Left: backings for personal quilts
Bottom Right: flannel and muslin

Next, we’ll tackle the bookcases. 

Bookcase #1 (two pix)

I think I missed the very first shelf . That houses a long-term clothing project I’m working on. 

Top Down: miscellaneous string blocks, 2022 RSC Bear Paws and on top of that plastic container are RSC 2021 Chips Blocks to be assembled.

Next: three current RSC projects in their storage boxes.

Lower shelf: two more current RSC boxes

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Blogger stopped working at this point; I will recreate the rest of the tour in next week’s weekly post.